It is the Dept of Education and Science’s plan that all schools have access to the Internet as a learning resource and that schools would have an ‘Acceptable Use Policy’ in place to regulate this access.
The aim of this Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) is to ensure that pupils will benefit from learning opportunities offered by the school’s Internet resources in a safe and effective manner. Internet use and access is considered a school resource and privilege. Therefore if the school AUP is not adhered to, this privilege will be withdrawn and appropriate sanctions as outlined in the AUP will be imposed. It is envisaged that school and parent representatives will review, revise and discuss the AUP regularly.
New Court School will employ a number of strategies in order to maximise learning opportunities and reduce risks associated with the Internet. These strategies are as follows:
- A teacher or Special Needs Assistant (SNA) will always supervise Internet sessions.
- Filtering software and/or equivalent systems will be used in order to reduce the risk of exposure to inappropriate material.
- The school will regularly monitor pupils’ Internet usage.
- Students and teachers will be provided with training in the area of Internet safety.
- Uploading and downloading of non-approved software or data will not be permitted.
- Virus protection software will be used and updated on a regular basis.
- The use of personal CD-ROMs and USB/Memory Sticks in school will not be allowed.
- Students will observe good ‘netiquette’ (i.e. etiquette on the Internet) at all times and will not undertake any actions that may bring the school into disrepute.
- Students will follow the ‘Student Rules for Use of Computer’ in all classrooms.
- Where staff use memory sticks from outside school, antivirus software must be run on the USB sticks.
World Wide Web:
- Students will use the Internet for education purposes only.
- Students will not visit Internet sites that contain obscene, illegal, hateful or otherwise objectionable materials.
- Students will be made aware of copyright issues relating to online learning.
- Students will never disclose or publicise personal information.
- Students will be aware that any usage including distributing or receiving information, school-related or personal, may be monitored for unusual activity, security and/or network management reasons.
- Chat rooms, discussion forums and other electronic communication forums will not be used generally and will only be used for educational purposes and will always be supervised.
- Usernames will not be used to avoid disclosure of identity.
- Face-to-face meetings with someone organised via Internet chat will be forbidden.
- Students will use approved class email accounts under supervision by or permission from a teacher or SNA.
- Students will not send or receive any material that is illegal, obscene, defamatory or that is intended to annoy or intimidate another person.
- Students will not reveal their own or other people’s personal details, such as addresses or telephone numbers or pictures.
- Students will never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they only know through emails or the Internet.
- Students will note that sending and receiving email attachments is subject to permission from their teacher or SNA.
- The school website contains factual information on the school with some policies available to download.
- Personal pupil information including home address and contact details will be omitted from school web pages.
- Digital photographs, audio or video clips of individual students will not be published on the school website. Instead photographs, audio and video clips will focus on group activities.
- Any publication of student’s work will be coordinated by a teacher or SNA. Pupils’ work will appear in an educational context on Web pages with a copyright notice prohibiting the copying of such work without express written permission.
- Pupils will be given the opportunity to publish projects, artwork or schoolwork on the website.
- Pupils will continue to own the copyright on any work published.
Information is available from the following legislation relating to use of the Internet:
- Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003
- Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998
- Interception Act 1993
- Video Recordings Act 1989
- The Data Protection Act 1998: “The Data Protection Act 1998 was passed to deal with privacy issues arising from the increasing amount of information kept on computer about individuals. In accordance with the Act, the school only publishes pupil information that is relevant to the context of the web page. Parents are informed of pupil information on the school website.”
The school will inform students and parents of key support structures and organisations that deal with illegal material or harmful use of the Internet. The following is a list of useful websites for further information.
- Get With it (Parent’s Guides Available)
- www.iab.ie (Internet Advisory Board)
- www.esafety.ie (Internet Safety Seminars for Schools/Parents)
- www.webwise.ie (Information on Various Forms of Internet Usage)
- www.ncte.ie (Information on ICT in Education)
- www.internetsafety.ie (includes information on Safer Internet Day)
Misuse of the Internet may result in disciplinary action including written warnings, withdrawal of access privileges and in extreme cases, suspension or expulsion. The school also reserves the right to report any illegal activities to the appropriate authorities.